Comment: I believe...

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I believe...

...that you're correct that a trademark can only be used to protect a name that is used for business activities. The classic examples are product brands: Coca Cola, Microsoft, etc. But as I read it, the complaint was claiming that "Ron Paul" is used for business purposes, and that's true enough. Dr. Paul is, in a sense, a business. He sells things under his own "brand": e.g. speeches and merchandise. Under the current law, I think Dr. Paul's claim is correct.

I also think your post raises an important objection to IP. Right now, statutes or case law determine what can and cannot be considered IP, but there is no underlying principle. There's no non-arbitrary limit to what could be considered IP. Taken to its logical conclusion, IP means that every word, concept, technique, recipe, etc could be owned. Think about that. Someone could patent the method of boiling water, or making fire, or the word "the." I think most would agree that this is absurd, yet once you accept the the legitimacy of any intellectual property, this follows.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."